Corporate Povery Reduction : Perspectives on collaboration between CSR and Development Assistance
Abstract: Traditionally, governments are the main providers of development assistance and re-sponsible for stimulating social development in the third world. In recent years, Corpo-rate Social Responsibility has gained considerable ground and it is now common for corporations to get involved in activities resembling those carried out in the name of development assistance. A deconstruction of these two activities shows that they could be described as two definitions of the same concept. Through a set of research ques-tions, this thesis explores the relationship between CSR and development assistance and seeks to identify possibilities for future cooperation between them. The purpose of the thesis is to investigate (1) if there is a future possibility for a com-mon strategy where CSR and Development Assistance collaborate; (2) if developing countries would benefit from corporate involvement in development assistance; and (3) who else could benefit from such a strategy. The main conclusion is that there are substantial possibilities for future co-operation be-tween them. It seems clear from the research that neither governmental development as-sistance organizations nor corporations stand a chance to eradicate poverty alone. It is, however, crucial that poverty eradication has to be the common goal for all actors in-volved. For cooperation to succeed the public must realize that a collaborative strategy is a way of including more actors in pursuing the goal of poverty eradication and not a way of trasferring money from development assistance to corporations. Further, distribution of responsibility becomes useless if legal or official guidelines are unable to decide who has the ultimate responsibility. It is importance that responsibility is also followed by accountability. Corporations would benefit by gaining access to emerging markets and the possibilities for innovative business strategies. Development assistance agencies would by introduc-ing new strategies improve the results and get more resources to achieve effective po-verty reduction. If corporations and development assistance agencies collaborate and focus on long-term projects real effectiveness will be the result. The general opinion seems to be that with a clearly set goal, several coordinated actors have a better chance of achieving it than one.
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